This research is aimed to describe the challenges faced by children in language choices in multi lingual communities. The qualitative method by giving questionnaire was used in this research with the data source of this research is Nigerians in Port Harcourt. Based on the data analysis by Ralph Fasold Theory: The effects of language choice is caused by the occurrence of language, social, and cultural contacts so that a growing group of people who speaks the ability to choose a language or language code in a particular event, either maintaining the first language or shifting the language to a new language or mixing the first language and new language. And from the data source then obtained the cause of language choice is 50% for age, 28% for situation (time and place), 14% for interaction and 8% for who their talk. So, from the data 25 respondents choose Age as the answer, 14 respondents choose the Situation, 7 respondents choose interaction as the answer and 4 respondents choose answer with the people they speak. And the effects of language choice is 68% for mix language, 20% for bili/multilingual, 10% for language attitude and 2% for cultural and social contacts. From the data 34 respondents choose Mix Language as the answer, 10 respondents choose bilingual or multilingual as the answer, 5 respondents choose language attitude as the answer and 1 respondent choose cultural and social contacts as the answer. The result taken from the 50 answered of Nigerians that stay in Port Harcourt.

Keywords: multilingual, language choice, cause of language choice, effects of language choice

1.1Background of the Study
Language is a tool for interacting or a means to communicate, in the sense of a tool for conveying thoughts, ideas, concepts or feelings. Language in sociolinguistic studies is not approached as a language as in theoretical linguistic studies, but is approached as a means of interaction within society.

Language has two major functions, they are interactional function and transactional function. Interactional function deals with how humans use language to interact each other socially or emotionally. Transactional function deals with whereby humans use their linguistics abilities to communicate knowledge, skills and information (Yule, 1985: 5-6).

Aside from language structure, other perspectives on language are represented in specialized or interdisciplinary branches: Historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, ethnolinguistics (or anthropological linguistics), dialectology, computational Linguistics, and neurolinguistics.

There are several cases that occur in the community about the attitude of language, especially in Port Harcourt that use language selection when they want to talk with other communities in the neighborhood. The neighborhood of Garkicity is mainly with its people. So they speak with the choice of language in polite language necessary to make others acceptable statement well and make it the language characteristic of Nigerians living in Port Harcourt. So the role of choice of language is important to know to send messages communication. That is why the people of Nigeria who live in Port Harcourt must choose the language that they use to adapt and communicate with other communities or with fellow community tribe Nigerian so that what is delivered by them can be accepted by the listener. Whether they use English Language with fellow Nigerian community or they mix the language with Hausa language or other language.

The choice of language makes us use the language all the time. Our language choice can also be a reflection of the social group we associate with certain words or type of linguistic behavior. The choice of language should be applied when we want to talk to each other, with our chosen language consciousness can speak more politely in conversation. As a good society language selection needs to be applied in every conversation. The awareness of choice of language supports us to give a good presentation, improve the competence and good performance also in our environment.

Arewa community as an ethnic in Nigeria, according to Koentjaraningrat, said that the essence of life of the Nigerians basically considers life as a series of events filled with misery, which must be met with courage and surrender. They usually accept the situation as fate. Furthermore, the behavior and customs of Nigerians courtesy towards each other are very collateral-oriented. That they live is not alone in the world, then they live to help each other, help each other. They also develop a tolerant attitude (teposeliro), and apply conform with each other, in addition they also intensify the solidarity between members of a group of relatives (Haryono 1993).

Every day wherever we cannot be separated from the communications. But in communicating not every skilled person do it effectively. This is even more so when the people involved in the communication are different cultures, errors in understanding the message, behavior or communication events are inevitable As we know Nigeria is a an archipelagic country that the emergence of local languages brings inevitable tribes in Nigeria. As a result, Hausas are at least bilingual or multilingual ethnic, and Hausa languages. The phenomenon of using ethnic language occurs in human daily activities such as at home, at school, on the bus, in the office, traditional markets etc. We cannot avoid the many ethnic and ethnic groups in Nigeria with various languages. we just need to adjust and interact so that our language can be understood by our scope.

1.12 Performance of English
Appendix 4 shows that the performance of English in day secondary schools in Port Harcourt is dismal as compared to boarding secondary school. This should raise a lot of concerns to stakeholders because English is an important subject in terms of its utilitarian value, therefore there was need to consider whether Language choice influences performance in English. Port Harcourt is in RiversState, Central region of Nigeria. The dominant mother tongue is Kikuyu.

In a study done on factors influencing students’ performance in English in NECO in secondary schools in Meru North City, Nigeria, Mwangi (2009) identified the problem that arises from having 100% of enrolment of students in their native city as is in the case of day city schools. This according to Mwangi (2009) contributes to poor performance in English as such students use their mother tongue during conversation. Mwangi (2009) recommends that parents should encourage their children to speak English while at home and school. Additionally, Mwangi (2009) cites mother tongue as one of the challenges that influences performance of English.

Gacheche (2010) emphasizes the importance of English language acquisition as a stepping-stone for proficiency in other school subjects in the Nigerian education system and argues that Language choice in secondary schools is a challenge in performance of English. In addition, Ouma (2010) researched on factors that affect performance of English in GuchaCity, Nigeria and found out that low proficiency and performance in English was associated to limited resources and students’ Language choice. He discourages the challenge of Language choice in schools.

Moreover, it is a requirement for students to pass in English language before entering the university since English is considered in various clusters that are a requirement for entry to various courses (Kimani, 2012). For instance, for one to qualify to do a course in Law or Medicine at University of Port Harcourt, one has to attain a minimum of a B- in English (University of Port Harcourt, 2012).

Bartoo (2004) investigated on the acquisition of English syntax by Keiyo mother tongue speakers. In her study, she looked at the syntactic errors that result from First Language (L1) transfer in the process of acquiring English as a Second language (L2) by Keiyo speakers of English. She equally looked at the effects of the errors on performance of students. In her investigation, she found out that syntactic errors found in first language inhibit acquisition of English skills and thus performance of learners in English. This was important to this research since the researcher endeavored to analyze the influence of L1 (mother tongue) on L2 (English).

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Secondary school level is important as it is the transitional stage, during which the youth of ages 14-18 years are prepared to join higher education, training and thereafter the world of work. The value attached to this level of education is reflected in the attention it receives from the government, parents and the general public. According to Public Expenditure Review, in 2011, Nigeria spent KSH146 Billion on education of which 50% went to primary education and 25% to secondary education (Ministry of Education, 2012). With this heavy investment at secondary level of education by the government, parents and the community, there is expectation of good results from individual students and schools in general (Kamano, 2011). Students’ achievement at this level is measured using the Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Examinations results. English is a core subject and is considered during the selection of courses in colleges and universities, so it needs to be given a lot of attention.

There is a surge in expansion of secondary schools in the country (Kamano, 2011). Most of the emerging secondary schools are in the rural areas where learners prevalently use mother tongue at home and school; Port Harcourt is not an exception. This prevalence of Language choice especially in day secondary schools is an issue of concern since it is a challenge that influences the performance of English (Mwangi, 2009). Thus, there was need to analyze the challenges of learning in a multilingual class of learners in English in public day secondary schools of Port Harcourt.

The previous studies have only highlighted mother tongue as a factor affecting performance of English but they have not made an analysis of Language choice and its influence on performance of English. Therefore, in this study the researcher endeavored to investigate the challenges of learning in a multilingual class.

1.3 Research Questions
1. How are the effects of language choice in Multilingual community like Port Harcourt?

2. What is the perception of teachers and students on the challenges of learning in a multilingual class?

3. What challenges does mother tongue bring about to students in the process of learning English?

4. What strategies should be used to improve the performance of English?

1.4 Significance of the Study
This study provides useful information to all education stakeholders who include the government, Nigeria National Examination Council, Nigeria Institute of Education, teachers, students, parents and community at large. The information about the influence of Language choice in secondary schools will not only be useful in Port Harcourt but also in Nigeria at large.

Specifically, the school administration will be able to garner information that will be helpful in their endeavor to address school’s language policy issues in terms of focus on Language choice in school and how it influences performance in English and by extension academic performance. Consequently, school principals can utilize the information, findings and recommendations to look for ways and means of coming up with informed language polices.

The findings also benefit teachers by providing them with information to re-examine their personal and professional practices in terms of use of language, with an aim of improving students’ performance in English. Parents or guardians, on the other hand, can use the research recommendations to help them to contribute positively to their children performance in English. Students also benefit from the findings by identifying personal characteristics in terms of their interaction patterns with colleagues and thus pick the right practices that can enhance their performance in English.

Finally, the research contributes to the existing knowledge on the challenge of Language choice and how it influences performance of English. It also helps future researchers in identifying priority areas in which to carry out more research in terms of use of language in the context of secondary schools. The findings may also serve as useful feedback to language policy makers, curriculum developers and implementers.

1.5 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study focuses on the challenge of Language choices for multilingual communities, especially factors affecting Nigerians In Port Harcourt to choose a particular language. This study tries to find the effects of language choice in Multilingual community like Port Harcourt in terms of sociolinguistic studies. In addition, the study was also delimited in terms of the time available. It was not practical for the researcher to visit all the schools in the city and at the same time carry a quality research. Port Harcourt was chosen because its public day secondary schools registered poor performance in English in NECO examination as Appendix 4 illustrates. Furthermore, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no other similar study has ever been conducted in the City. In addition, the study focused on English performance only, leaving out all other subjects at secondary school level.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 44 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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